To bridge the information gap between the public and the court, the Legal Access through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Society for Justice (LAWYERS) over the weekend, handed over two information desks to the Freetown law court.
It is no secret that the court is plagued with impersonators who often extort and misdirect litigants, because they lack access to adequate information about the court and its proceedings.
This was reaffirmed by the Chief Justice Hon Umu Tejan-Jalloh, who pointed out that the new identification cards of attendants’ at the desk will be useful in “ curbing imposters e.g. illegal bailiffs and Court Clerks who go around using the judiciary’s name for unauthorized purposes…”
The attendants’ behind this beautifully designed woodwork, according to Marima Dumbuya member LAWYER will provide information on: “How to be good to witness in court; how to get a witness to testify who cannot speak English; tips on preparing to meet with a lawyer; simple questions to ask potential lawyer and things to remember when seeking legal advice.”
She also noted that the information desk will have limited copies of the three Gender Acts and its simplified and abridged versions done by Lawyers Centre from Legal Assistance (LAWCLA); limited copies of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act 2005; copies of literature dealing with inequality rights, discriminatory laws against women in Sierra Leone; limited copies of the Child Rights Act and many more.
She also revealed that complaint forms done by LAWYERS are available for women seeking legal aid on matters touching and concerning women and children in Sierra Leone especially cases relating to Gender Acts and the Child Rights Act 2007.
“We hope that women of Sierra Leone will grab this opportunity afforded them to ensure that they report or seek legal aid for any form of violation against women and children,” she stressed.
Notwithstanding the desk and it attendants’ the desk was also supported with its peripherals. Lawyer Dumbuya disclosed that “two desktop computers equipped with 2 UPS and a universal printer to facilitate printing of vital information for the public,” was being provided for the desk. “We hope that these machines will be effectively utilized for the desired objectives,” she said.
She thanked the UNFPA for their support, noting that LAWYERS has been partly members, donors and through partnership with other women organization both local and international “it is against this background that the president of LAWYERS on behalf of members of the organization signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the UNFPA in June 2008,” she explained.
The Chief Justice also thanked the organization for the huge dustbins they donated and said it will help in ensuring that the environment of the judiciary is kept clean.
UNFPA representative pledged their continual support to the organization.